AC/DC is one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Their Number One albums have stretched across multiple decades and transcended generations.

However, until November 19, 2012, AC/DC’s music was only available in physical formats. On November 19, AC/DC’s entire catalogue became available on iTunes.

The challenge here was to raise awareness about the iTunes release to the millions of core AC/DC fans as well as reaching a broader rock fan base. Additionally, AC/DC’s fan base at this point skews older. This brings another challenge of attracting fans to digital music that may still lean towards buying physical music. Also, these fans may already own a good amount of AC/DC’s catalog. Finally, as the announcement was strictly confidential, there was no way to raise awareness of the digital release prior to it being live on iTunes.

Our Solution

To get AC/DC back into the forefront of the minds of fans prior to release, an initial campaign was run to promote their “Live at River Plate” DVD. Even though this was being marketed as a physical release, it would still work to get people thinking about AC/DC and in the purchasing mindset prior to the iTunes release. Overall, this phase of the campaign delivered over 100,000 clicks to the DVD pre-order page from over 212 million impressions.

Upon release day of the catalogue, our campaign was intended to make a big splash by being aggressive in our targeting of both core fans as well as a broader fan base of rock music fans. We used three targeting methods to reach the core audience: Retargeting, Music Media Ads and Facebook Page Post ads.

Retargeting lists had been building for over a year, in order to allow us to talk to people who had shown interest in AC/DC. To further segment our retargeted audience, pixels of different durations were created, allowing us to bid more aggressively against people who had shown interest more recently. All-time from retargeting, the campaign received over 27,000 visitors from over 10 million impressions. Within this, our one day retargeting lists resulted in nearly 5,000 visitors from close to 2 million impressions, at a 0.25% CTR.

In order to stay in the top position for Google search results, we used Music Media ads. These ads kept us active in search at a cost-effective price, with multiple links to different product releases on iTunes. From the catalog campaign, our Music Media ad received over 4,000 visitors from over 400,000 impressions. For this release, we were able to get all old albums and hit songs added as keywords as well, including ‘T.N.T.’ ‘Back In Black’ and ‘Thunderstruck.’

As Facebook currently will only show a post organically to around 15% of fans of a page, it was important for us to increase reach among core fans1. To do this, we targeted core AC/DC fans with a Page Post ad. The post we promoted used an iTunes link with no other outbound links and little copy. With a Page Post ad, we would be paying for engagements, so we wanted as high a percentage of people clicking through to iTunes as possible. This Page Post ad received over 50,000 visitors from nearly 3.5 million impressions, at a CTR of 1.52%.

In order to keep the creative fresh and interesting, multiple versions of banner and overlay ads were created. The first banner set was made for broad appeal, showcasing the album titles and covers through the years. These were easily recognizable for core and broader fans alike. A second banner was created and tailored for lifelong fans of the band, by showing different AC/DC logos used throu- ghout the years. This set played off of nostalgia, as lifelong fans would remember the various phases of AC/DC’s career and want to update their catalogue with additional, digital music. All-time, banner ads received over 27,000 visitors from in excess of 20 million impressions. In addition, our YouTube overlay ads received over 50,000 visitors from over 23 million impressions, a 0.22% CTR. A pre-roll video ad was also created following the nostalgic feel as a timeline of the logos through the years. Our pre-roll ad received more than 22,000 visitors from over 1.5 million impressions, a 1.45% CTR.

The final big push for this campaign came surrounding the holidays. iTunes Gift Cards are always a popular gift around the holidays, and they are often quickly redeemed. Our goal here was to keep AC /DC top of mind and drive sales among people who received gift cards. During this time, iPad traffic spikes as well as people are receiving tablets as gifts and starting to use them. We heavily targeted iPads surrounding the holidays, in the goal of connecting with new users, who could also skew older and more affluent. On Tablets, we received nearly 9,000 visitors from almost 4 million impressions, a 0.23% CTR. On Mainstream news sites, our ads received 1,587 visitors from 676,746 impressions.


This campaign allowed us to reach our core audience in a variety of ways and places, with tailored messaging. Being able to use the retargeting lists that had been building prior to the campaign allowed us to reach an audience that had shown previous interest. By targeting iPads around the holidays, we were able to reach a new audience, likely to purchase music on iTunes, with highly granular levels of targeting. In total, the campaign received over 200,000 visitors from over 225 million impressions. Although AC/DC’s music had always been strictly physical, this release was turned into a big event, reaching the core audience as well as a broader fan base to drive interest and digital sales.

Joe Schlesinger
Written By:
Account Director
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